easy lentils and rice recipe

Easy Lentils and Rice Recipe

I had a partial bag of lentils leftover from making lamb and lentil soup some months ago, and decided they’d make a good fairly last minute dinner. Unlike beans, lentils don’t have to be soaked, so you can make them quickly.

Lentils and rice go together just as well as beans and rice, plus when you put them together you’ve got a complete protein. My mom always stressed this when I was a kid; it makes me laugh now. It’s a fairly quick, tasty dinner and it’s also pretty budget-friendly.

I looked at several other lentils and rice recipes and didn’t like any of them. Some were too bland and simplistic, while others involved way too much work and some hard-to-find ingredients.

I try to keep my recipes tasty, but not complicated (and with ingredients that are readily available).  So, I did a bit of fudging, combining, and tweaking to get the results I wanted.

This lentils and rice recipe is fairly easy to prepare, and features a surprise ingredient you may not expect. It is, admittedly, not going to win awards for looks, but it did taste good!

Easy Lentils and Rice Recipe

Category: entree

Cuisine: Middle Eastern

one serving

easy lentils and rice recipe

Lentils and rice with curry, ginger, and garlic.


  • 1/2 cup rice (preferably jasmine)
  • 1.2C lentils
  • 1 T canola or other neutral cooking oil
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 t ketchup
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1.4 tsp curry
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • pinch turmeric
  • 1T chicken stock


  1. Cook rice according to package directions.
  2. While the rice is cooking, fill a small saucepan with water and add the lentils. Cook for about 10 minutes.
  3. Heat the oil in a small frying pan. Add the onion and saute for a minute or two. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or two. Now, add the ketchup and the spices. Cook, stirring until the onion wilts (about 5 minutes or so). Add the chicken stock.
  4. Once the lentils are done, drain them and add them to the spice mixture. Cook five minutes, adding more chicken stock if necessary.
  5. Serve over rice.

Substitutions and Variations for Lentils and Rice Recipe

  • If you have the time, start by caramelizing the onions first; you’ll get a deeper, richer flavor
  • Make it Lebanese with the caramelized onions, a fried egg, and cumin (full recipe)
  • Or, go to Ethiopia with some cardamom, tomatoes, cumin, and red lentils (instead of brown)

More Easy Lentil Recipes

red lentil carrot soup

Red Lentil Carrot Soup

Carrots add sweetness, while the garlic, ginger, and garam masala add warm earthy spice.  For heat, add red pepper flakes (or if you really like spicy food, go for red chili peppers).

single serving lamb and lentil soupLamb and Lentil Soup Recipe

Exactly one portion of soup. Made with leftover lamb, this is hearty and filling. Great for changeable weather. I used lamb broth (since I had it). Beef broth will work too.


Easy Haham and lentil soupm and Lentil Soup for One Person

Ham and lentil is, of course, a classic combination. This is simmered slowly. It’s also got kielbasa for extra salty, smoky, peppery flavor.



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